To be able to plan in the long term, strong partnerships need to be set up, allowing continuous improvement and commitment to the future, both fed and co-created by companies together. Such partnerships are more effective and permanent if strategies are aligned among the organizations. Inconsistent or antagonistic strategies will block the organizations from succeeding, while they struggle to negotiate on different basis and objectives.
The strategy alignment is possible only with transparency in contacts, close updates on strategy pillars from both sides (customer and supplier), and a commitment to improve together. Some points are okey to developing this alignment:
- account meetings (internal and external), where action plans are built and checked, according to agreed goals and value cocreation demands;
- availability from both parties to listen and process into action, responding pro-actively to the demands on each side to reach the defined goals – “yes” is not always possible, and “no” or “maybe” are very good if transparent communication happens and a strong commitment with agreed goals is always shown between parties;
- simple and objective plans need to be organized and reviewed often, guaranteeing its relevancy to reaching the results agreed.
From the supplier side, a deep understanding of the customer, its installed base with technology status, its goals and strategy will allow a correct offer of solutions tied to customers’ real needs and not just a menu of everything possible from the supplier portfolio.
The best sommelier does not only know about wines, but understands deeply about gastronomy, being able to understand the best combination for each occasion. He also knows and cares deeply about his inventory, seasonal demands, cost/ benefit of each bottle, and is capable of adequately making each suggestion for the correct moment and customer. This analogy may be applied to the supplier, as a technical coach on reaching the best fit technology and solution to each operation.